The Power of Gratitude

The Impact of Thankfulness—On Company Culture

As we gather this year for a Thanksgiving full of fresh food, football, the annual turkey trot, black Friday Christmas shopping, tree decorating, and official kick-off of the winter holiday season, we acknowledge that the busyness of it all means we need to be reminded at times just why we celebrate this day each year.

Thanksgiving tends to be one of few times each year that people slow down from the hustle and bustle of life and take a moment to reflect about those they care about—and the ones they’d like to do better by. That’s a worthwhile endeavor, and still, we firmly believe that Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only time people pause to be thankful. Thankfulness should be a year-round practice, as it has the ability to affect all aspects of life—from improving personal well-being to enhancing professional fulfillment.

We firmly believe in the importance of giving back to each other, to our clients, and to the industry, because not only does it change our own daily states of mind, but it also opens the doors to more relationships and offers empathy. Through being better “thankfulness practitioners”—in word and action both—we have the opportunity to change ourselves as well as contribute to changing the culture of our workplaces, this industry, and even our broader communities.

It might feel daunting to know where to begin here, or how to best show your gratitude (it’s important to note that just because you feel grateful, it doesn’t mean you’re showing that gratitude in a way that those around you see and receive it). With all of this in mind, we’ve put together a list of ideas to help us all exhibit thankfulness all year long.

The Impact of Thankfulness—On An Interpersonal Level

Thankfulness is a significant element of nurturing a healthy company culture, and continuous expression of gratitude attracts and retains employees—after all, people want to be a part of a culture where their hard work and dedication won’t go unnoticed, where they feel genuinely appreciated. The display of gratitude should be integrated within a team, as well as incorporated into a company’s greater mission.

Gratitude offers one of the best ways for us to connect with one another. However, people show thankfulness in a multitude of ways, many of which can be harder to recognize than the stereotypical thank-you card. Below are a few ways your team can put gratitude into practice:

  • Management teams:
    • Acknowledgement of sacrifices and achievements
      • Verbally and tangibly (e.g. in writing) acknowledged sacrifices or extra efforts put forth by your team.
      • It’s a good rule of thumb to take the time to offer thanks in person.
    • Advocacy
      • Advocate for your team and go to bat for them—whether this is for their advancement or in their defense.
    • Build camaraderie
      • Make time for “small talk” and get to know team members on a more personal level—this will provide a more authentic way to engage and even provide feedback as appropriate (whether this feedback is gratefulness or a growth opportunity).
    • Incentives
      • Lunch, happy hour, birthday parties, retreats, work-related travel, remote work days, holiday celebrations, you name it—it all helps!
  • Colleagues:
    • Acts of service
      • Offer to help take something off a peer’s plate in acknowledgement that they’ve outdone themselves and deserve a break, or as thanks for a time they served you when you needed help.
      • Bring lunch or a small treat to show them you were thinking of them, especially if you know they’ve been struggling either personally or professionally recently.
    • Thank-you notes
      • This can be a simple message (we use Slack!) acknowledging their contributions or even a longer notes telling colleagues you value them and the ways that they’ve served you and the company.
    • Praise Publicly
      • It’s always nice to have public recognition for your hard work! At DMA we have an #AttaGirl (our Dallas office currently consist of women only) channel on our team Slack, in which we all get to brag about our coworkers when they knock it out of the park.
  • Clients:
    • Show appreciation:
      • Go the extra mile by writing thank-you letters—it’s amazing how much of a difference words of encouragement and appreciation can make.
      • Pick up the phone to offer sporadic verbal thanks for their business and the impact they’re making in the industry.
      • Make time for plenty of face-time (especially where a little wine and karaoke are involved!).
    • Features
      • Give them and their brand a shout-out on social media.
      • Write about them in company blogs, editorials, etc.


As demonstrated by the above examples, gratefulness in action doesn’t have to require elaborate displays: often, the old adage holds true and it’s the “little things that count.” If we all begin to allow space for sincere gratitude within our industry and to our fellow colleagues, managers, and clients, perhaps we can even begin to transform our attitudes towards our work.

This holiday season, and for every day beyond, we encourage everyone to take the focus off material things and focus on spending quality time with the people you value, offering appreciation every chance you get. Take some time in your busy day to send appreciation to your boss for their leadership, offer a high-five to a first-responder, give your leftovers and a blanket to the homeless, send a care package to a soldier, and (our favorite) thank a farmer.

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